BJP came to power in the past on Catholic votes: Goa church

June 15th, 2009 - 4:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Panaji, June 15 (IANS) The Roman Catholic Church in Goa Monday said it stands by its earlier statement that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the past came to power in the state as Catholics voted for it, and reiterated that the church never gives any preferences but asks the people to vote by their conscience.
In a pressnote issued here, the church said that an earlier statement by Father Francisco Caldeira, which created a controversy during the last Lok Sabha polls, was “only meant to establish a fact and not to define a church policy, a fact that was otherwise corroborated by the local press”.

Caldeira, the director of the Diocesan Centre for Social Communication Media, was quoted as saying that “Catholics are open to the BJP. Even in the past, they (BJP) had come to power with the help of Catholic votes”.

The BJP was in power in the state 2000-2005.

The release said: “All that the church recommends is that voters use their discretion with regard to parties whose policies are in conflict with the ideals of national unity and communal harmony.”

“Reports and comments in certain sections of the local press had suggested that the spokesman of the archbishop made misleading statements on behalf of the church leadership in Goa on the occasion of the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections,” the release states.

The official communique also refuted allegations in the local media that the Goa church had “not done enough” to show its solidarity with persecuted Christian tribals in Kandamahal.

“This church topped the list of the Indian dioceses which sent monetary help to the said victims and was the only one which collected more than 99,000 signatures, thus raising awareness among various entities, nationally and internationally,” the statement said.

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